theringer.com – It’s Thanksgiving week, which means a perpetual hunger has settled in at The Ringer. What better time to talk about food—specifically, how easy it is these days to get virtually any kind of meal delivered to your doorstep. For the past several years, food delivery has been a hot sector in Silicon Valley. Startups know we need sustenance and that technology has made us too lazy to want to leave our homes to buy it. But 2017 has introduced serious headwinds to the food-delivery craze. Blue Apron, which mails customers ingredients to cook, has struggled to woo investors since its June IPO and recently laid off hundreds of workers. Delivery-only restaurant Sprig shut down in May, while competitor Munchery has also faced cutbacks. Have startup founders misjudged the way people want to buy and eat their food? Ringer staffers Alyssa Bereznak, Katie Baker, Victor Luckerson, Molly McHugh, and Kate Knibbs weigh in. — Victor Luckerson
Are you using food-delivery apps more or less often in 2017 than in the past?
Kate Knibbs: I use Seamless on a weekly basis, but I stand by my hypothesis that the only people who use services like Blue Apron are the podcast hosts who are charged with promoting them.
Molly McHugh: I’ve never used a Blue Apron–type service and I am prone to picking up my own takeout. Postmates has always exclusively been a hangover/special-occasion-only app. UberEats and Postmates are the only apps I’ve “given in to.” I go pick up my takeout like it’s 2005! But for comparison’s sake, I guess I would say I’m using these apps less. I never used them all that much to begin with, but this year I’ve deleted them multiple times to make more space for other stuff.
Katie Baker: Don’t overlook the demographic of “your coworker who has a toddler”! If it weren’t for Sun Basket (a kind of semi-healthier Blue Apron alternative), my husband and I would do the “Eh, should we just make mac and cheese?” every night. Instead, two nights a week, we dutifully measure out our 2 tablespoons of oil and get to work. I don’t think any food delivery apps exist where I live—I’ve heard rumors that there’s, like, a guy you can call who will go pick up food for you, but it seems pretty analog.
In the internet era I just don’t see this craze dying off completely but we’ll see I guess